You will doubtlessly have understood that my last letter had crossed itself with yours.
I have here in my hand the one that you wrote on the 16th and, after having paid a visit
to your brother, I will give you his news.
I will hasten to tell you that, to my great surprise, I found him reasoning perfectly
and having full understanding of his condition. On entering the hospice the porter handed
me a letter he had just received for him, and which I recognised as coming from you. He
thought that your brother would not be in a state to understand it. But I had hardly entered
his room when, noticing the considerable improvement in him, I did not hesitate to give it
to him. He read it in my presence, and even communicated to me the last part of it, where
you speak to him of a friend, a fellow painter, who wants to come to Arles.
Your brother has spoken to me with calm and perfect lucidity about his situation, and also
of the petition signed by his neighbors, the existence of which which the commissioner cannot
ignore. This piece distresses him a great deal. If the police, he said to me, protected my
liberty by preventing the children and even the grown-ups from gathering around my domicile
and climbing up the windows as they did (as if I was a curious beast), I would have remained
calmer; in any case I haven't hurt anybody and I am not dangerous to anyone.
I told him that, once he is completely recovered, he must agree that it
would be in his best interest and in view of his peace of mind to
move to another quarter. He appears to have accepted this idea,
while calling my attention to the fact that perhaps it would be
difficult to find an apartment elsewhere after what has
In summary, I have found your brother transformed and, God
willing, this improvement will be maintained.
There is something in his state which is indefinable, and it
is impossible to account for the so abrupt and sudden changes that have happened to him.
It is evident that while he remains in the situation where I have seen him, there is no
question that he will remain confined; no one that I know has this
He told me that he will hasten to write to you.
The best to you, and from the bottom of my heart.
Your very devoted, Salles.
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Reverend Salles. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 18 March 1889 in Arles. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number to.
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